The JLP marks the International Day of Sign Languages

The Joint Learning Program recognizes September 23, the International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL). There are over 70 million Deaf people worldwide and over 300 different sign languages.

Blue hands with the year (2023) in a circleSign languages are full languages. They have a distinct grammar and structure, both of which differ from spoken languages. Access to Sign Languages is essential to realizing the human rights of Deaf people. It also allows them to access Deaf culture and identity.

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) first proposed the day to the United Nations (UN). When the UN adopted the resolution, they chose September 23 to commemorate the founding of the WFD in 1951. It is also part of the International Week of Deaf People. This day was first observed in 2018.

This year, the theme for IDSL is "A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere!" This is meant to highlight the unity and belonging that Sign Languages foster. In Canada, the two most commonly used Sign Languages are American Sign Language (ASL) and la langue des Signes Québecoise (LSQ). However, there are four other Sign Languages commonly used in Canada: Maritime Sign Language, Inuit Sign Language, Oneida Sign Language and Plains Indian Sign Language.

The JLP recognizes the importance of Sign Languages in both integrating Deaf people into workplace culture and in helping them to access Deaf culture. While the JLP’s Duty to Accommodate workshop is currently under review, you can find resources about meeting accommodation needs on our website.